It is Pennsylvania state law to stop when there are pedestrians in a crosswalk. The same protection is not automatically afforded pumpkins.
The area in front of our Wegmans superstore is not super. There are literally thousands of cars daily crossing in front of its entrance…as are customers navigating getting groceries.
The crosswalk is the safe haven where shoppers can align themselves when taking those final, fateful steps in and out of the store. In theory everyone seeing pedestrians stops politely and allows them protected passage.
Older folks, who can sometimes melt ice with their heated dialogue when playing the role of pedestrians and are not honored with safe passage appear to strip their gears in anger when having to brake for pedestrians. If they don’t see anyone (and in their eyesight I trust) they’re often mashing the pedal straight ahead at warp speed.
The younger, technology-distracted drivers don’t seem to mind bringing their cars to a stop when they come up for air and notice where they actually are. They usually meander at a low speed and admittedly don’t stop talking or texting…but that’s fine for pedestrians as long as they stop.
Harried homemakers, driving vehicles big enough for both lanes, are resigned to stopping but often disgustedly gesture you across…even though as a pedestrian it’s already your right-of-way.
Which brings us to pumpkins. My wife and I decided to grab a cart and pick up three large pumpkins this morning to eventually decorate our front porch. We carefully and lovingly determined which ones looked the best and would stay stout throughout the season.
After checking them out…and checking out…it was off to the crosswalk.
It should be noted as habit I put my sunglasses on just as I step outside the store. This does require me to take my hands off the cart just briefly but, even with a small incline ahead leading into the crosswalk I never have any issue getting the cart firmly under control with sunglasses firmly in place.
Until this morning.
When I underestimated the overall weight of the three pumpkins in the cart.
And the cart started to roll. Away.
At the point I estimated the pumpkins would arrive in the crosswalk before my wife and I the split decision was made to abandon fitting my sunglasses perfectly and focus on saving the pumpkins from having the shortest life span of any decorations in our history.
I got both hands on the cart just before its wheels entered the crosswalk.
Blessedly there were no cars driving in either direction.
I thought I was out of the woods at that point but there was soon a second, unforeseen crosswalk to navigate.
Walking with my wife…who was cross with me about not having cart in hand at the crosswalk. Indeed we had a cart-crashing close call. And it’s barely safe for us crossers as it is.
I gladly brake for everyone in the crosswalk. I would hope everyone else would too.